F-35 Lightning II News

Finland chooses the F-35A

December 10, 2021 (by Bjorn Claes) - The Finnish government authorized the Finnish Defense Forces Logistics Department to establish a procurement deal with the US for the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II on December 10, 2021.

RNoAF F-35A #5388 from 332 skv is taking off from Leeuwarden AB on October 7th, 2021 for another Weapons Instructor Course mission. [Photo by John de Winter]

Finland orders a total of 64 F-35A Block 4 multi-purpose fighters. Included in the deal are large-scale and adaptable weaponry customized to Finnish conditions as well as the essential training and maintenance solutions, other auxiliary equipment and maintenance and servicing services until the end of 2030.

The Lightning II met the requirements of security of supply, industrial cooperation and cost decision areas, according to the evaluation of the Finnish HX Fighter Replacement Programme (HX-FRP) procurement. The F-35A's operation and maintenance expenses will be within the yearly defense budget and lifecycle development will be doable using existing Defense Force resources.

Lockheed Martin's industrial cooperation is primarily focused on direct industrial cooperation, which results in strong independent maintenance capabilities. The large-scale manufacture of F-35 front frames in Finland for other users, the fabrication of structural components and the ability to test and maintain equipment are the most important industrial cooperation initiatives. In addition, Finland is offering a final engine assembly project for Air Force aircraft.

The HX program has a total budget of EUR 10 billion. Parliament has authorized a EUR 9,4 billion order for the fighter project to acquire a Hornet replacement system, as well as a EUR 579 million five-year transfer appropriation. The present transaction is estimated to be valued EUR 8,4 billion. The aircraft cost EUR 4,7 billion, with EUR 755 million going to AMRAAM and Sidewinder weapons. Maintenance equipment, spare parts and replacement equipment, training equipment, other systems and services to be procured, as well as maintenance will cost EUR 2,9 billion between 2025 and 2030.

Finland will receive the first Lightning IIs in 2026, with all F/A-18 Hornets being replaced between 2028 and 2030.